Hello. Welcome to 30 Mosques. A Ramadan road adventure from 2009 to 2011. Here are some of our favorite posts!

Finale: We Will Meet Again

Dear friends, It has been a while. We are back living the lives we left. I am in my advertising agency working on what advertising people work on. Aman is touring, flying across the world and writing incredible editorials. Life continues. There was a pause and in that pause we all met. It was only two to three weeks ago that we all were together. You were rooting for us,

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They say that nostalgia is one of the most useless human emotions. What do you get from sulking or waxing about the past? Maybe this isn’t that. Maybe this is just a reflection on some of the moments that can’t seem to leave my mind. Day 3: Corvallis, Oregon – Letters To Your “Terrorist” Friend. We meet friends of a convicted terrorist and ask them a simple question: If they

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Day 22: Understanding Love

We met a gay Imam yesterday in Washington DC. Before we go any further I thought I’d take a moment and do a Frequently Asked Questions section so we can get passed the obvious questions and move to the story. FAQS WHAT’S THE STORY? He goes by Imam Daiyee Abdullah and lives in Washington D.C. He is known as the gay Imam because many queer Muslims come to him for

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Fireworks in a Parking Lot

My sincere apologies to the kid I almost shot in the face with these fireworks, lol.

Day 18: Migrating For Love

Past the confederate flags and horse ranches, a little entry way down a broken road leads to a small mobile home community.  I drive slowly down the road and see three to four mobile homes lined up next to one another. A large African American man comes out wearing a shalwar kameez, a traditional South Asian garb, and greets us. He is the elder in the community and goes by

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Day 15: Something Is Not Right In Me

My father is battling one of the strongest demons he’s ever faced in his life. He’s 66 years old and began working at the age of 9. Health reasons forced him to recently retire and ever since he’s been coping with what relevance he feels like he has in this world. “The only thing I know is work,” he said before pausing and staring at a wall. “As long as

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Day 11: Lutfullah’s Walls

In the quiet northwest corner of Omaha there is a home adorned with colorful signage blaring pro-Muslim and pro-African slogans. Inside the home a man will be sitting among roaches and rats who will smile and welcome you. His name is Lutfullah Wali and he is one of the first Muslims in Nebraska. He embraced the faith in the 1950’s after fighting in World War 2, traveled across the world

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Day 8: We Are All Related

Basheer pointed to his gleaming skin and said the no-facial hair stereotype about Native Americans is true. “Open up a history book and you’re not going to see Geronimo or Sitting Bull with a beard or nothin’” he said. “Wow, I think you’re probably the least hairiest Muslim I’ve ever met,” I quipped back. Basheer Butcher is a full-blooded Native American that converted to Islam in 2001. He hails from

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Day 8: Nor’s Letters

DAVID Before prison, David only knew one world. He was part of a biker gang and got himself into trouble. Once a man pulled a loaded gun near his face and nearly killed him. Another time, two men opened beer bottles on his scalp and left him to die. Before Islam, his enemies were the people around him, after he became a Muslim his biggest enemy became himself – his

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Day 4: There’s Something In The Air

It’s well past midnight and I’m cooped up against a corner with my laptop outside the prayer room. I furiously begin to hammer away at the keyboard to write up this blog post so I can at least salvage a few hours of sleep before I have to get up again and head to the next state. A guy named Jason decorated with piercings and tattoos walks into the room

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Day 3: Letters To A Friend

This past November, Mohamed Osman Mohamud planned to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. His plans were foiled by the FBI who had set him up in the first place. The thwarted bomb plot made headlines across the country declaring Mohamed a terrorist, a young radical. He was a student at Oregon State University and frequented the local mosque in Corvallis. There, Mohamed was known as MoMo,

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Day 1: Yes, There Are Muslims in Alaska

David Abuobaid is an active leader in Anchorage’s Muslim community. He said that Alaska is the most accepting state in this country of Muslims. “People are independent thinkers here,” he said in between some bites of food he took to break his fast. “The same feel for this place is like the pioneering spirit of the 1800s, everybody comes here with a story. There’s no tribal mentality here because everyone

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Day 25: Iowa, The Mother Mosque in Cedar Rapids

Note: There are many families that have helped build the Cedar Rapids Muslim community. Unfortunately, I was only able to meet with a small portion of them. So please take these small accounts and stories as part of a larger history. Many mistake the Mother Mosque as being the first mosque in North America, but as we blogged a couple of days ago, Ross, North Dakota was the site of

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The First 15 Days in Photos

Sitting in a hallway at Montana State University — with a broken car and draining laptop battery — I feel like it’s a good time to look back at some of the best moments and photos of our first 15 days on the road.

Day 18 – Nevada, the Jamia Masjid in Las Vegas

Amanullah has been working in casinos for over 29 years. “Nobody enjoys this work,” he tells me as he sips on a cup of chai. “But we do it because we want a better life for our kids.” Amanullah oversees slot machines at the MGM Grand Casino and is a board member of the Jamia Masjid, a mosque in downtown Las Vegas just minutes away from The Strip, the city’s

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Day 15 – New Mexico, Dar al Islam in Abiquiu (Pt. 2)

Note: We seem to have misplaced a substantial number of amazing pictures we took during this visit, so our sincerest apologies. We will try to find them as soon as possible and post them. Bassam and I were getting ready to leave New Mexico for an eight hour drive to Arizona, but we took an incredibly worthwhile one hour detour to Abiquiu, New Mexico. The small town is home to

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Day 14 – The Colorado Muslim Society in Denver

Sheikh Abu Omar counted on both of his hands how many times he came close to dying. The 80-year-old man has escaped drowning, political assassinations and even a fatal health diagnosis in the 1970s that remind him how blessed he feels when he wakes up every day. “Allah has protected me,” he says as he puts his left arm around me and points his right index finger into the air.

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Day 13: Islamic Society of Wichita

Taking pictures outside of the Islamic Society of Wichita, I strike up a small conversation with Ammarah, a journalism student from the local university, Wichita State, who is following us today.

Day 12 – Oklahoma, the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City (Pt. 1)

My homegirl Sarah Albahadily made all the arrangements for our visit to Oklahoma City today, and she’s just about as Oklahoma as you can get. She proudly blasts country music in her car and often wears cowboy shoes under her long flowing abaya dress. On the 4th of July, her mother puts on a headscarf designed like an American flag. “A lot of people make fun of Oklahoma for being

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The Lady Caliphs in Atlanta – A Short Video

In Atlanta, we visited the Mohammed Schools where we talked about the Lady Caliphs, the high school girls basketball team that made it to the state championships a few years ago.

Day 11 – Texas, Synott Mosque in Houston

Synott isn’t the name of the mosque we visited tonight, but that doesn’t matter because in the past ten years I’ve been frequenting it I’ve called the mosque nothing else. This is your hometown mosque, that mosque where you learned about Islam, ran into your first Muslim crush, where you volunteered at the Sunday school and picked a fight or two when you didn’t have to.  It’s that mosque where

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Day 10 – Louisiana, Zeitoun After Zeitoun, A Photo Essay (Pt. 2)

AbdulRahman Zeitoun is an iconic American Muslim. But if you tell him this, he will shrug and change the subject. He doesn’t talk much about the book written about him or the animated movie that is in the works (directed by Oscar winner Jonathan Demme). He’d rather talk about his painting company or the masjid that he helps run. For those who are not familiar with Zeitoun, I strongly recommend

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Day 10 – Louisiana, Spending time with family in New Orleans (Pt. 1)

There are millions of people in New Orleans that can tell you stories about how they’re struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

But a different kind of story here hits close to home for me because it’s about my brother Salman.

Day 9 – Alabama, Epic Fail.

Last night in the Jacksonville mosque, Aman and I decided to change today’s route from Birmingham, Alabama to Mobile, Alabama. The cause for the change of heart – word of mouth said that Muslims own about 95% of the car dealerships in Mobile, and at that time,  it sounded like a nice phenomena to cover. We enter Mobile, Alabama around 6:30 p.m. and see a wide array of car dealerships

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Day 6 – North Carolina, Masjid Ash-Shaheed in Charlotte

I looked at Feroz Mahal, a tall and burly Punjabi man with an “I Love Canada” lanyard around his neck, from across the room and slowly gravitated towards him. He drove a tractor trailer thousands of miles from Vancouver, Canada and somehow wound up here in the mosque to be among the congregants of Masjid Ash-Shaheed, a predominantly African American mosque that is so inviting to anyone that comes inside

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Day 5 – Washington D.C., Masjid Muhammad

Xavier is ten years old and attends KIP elementary. He devours a watermelon slice sitting next to me and talks about his school. “I’m in fifth grade.” he says, “the school I go to is called Knowledege is P…”  He pauses and realizes he doesn’t know what the P stands for, but swears it’s not Power. Xavier and I are sitting together breaking our fast at Masjid Mohammad, but Xavier

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Day 4 – Pennsylvania, Bawa’s Fellowship, A Photo Essay (Pt. 2)

We arrive in Coatesville, PA around 5:30 PM at the East Fallowfield farm.  It is cold and cloudy. I get out of our Chevy Cobalt and walk towards something called the “Bawa Garden.” The stop here is supposed to be a short one. We are scheduled to be at United Muslim Mosque in Philadelphia for break fast.  We are greeted by a man named Chuck who meets us with three

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Day 4 – Pennsylvania, United Muslim Masjid in Philadelphia (Pt. 1)

Apparently it’s not an uncommon sight in Philadelphia to see female parking meter attendants that cover up their faces in full niqab. It’s that kind of “I’m Muslim, so you’re just going to have to deal with it” attitude that’s so refreshing to me. Before coming to Philly, I asked many of my friends there which place I should check out when I come. Every single one of them pointed

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Day 3 – Massachusetts, Islamic Society of Boston

I am sitting at a table poking the desert on my plate. Not sure what it’s called, but it’s probably not good for my already troubled stomach [CLICK PHOTO TO READ MORE]

Day 2 – Maine, Refugees in Portland (Pt. 2)

Before heading out to Boston today, Bassam and I stayed in Maine a bit longer to meet a large refugee population of people from Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan. [CLICK THE PHOTO TO READ MORE]

Day 2 – Maine, Islamic Society of Augusta (Pt. 1)

Sitting among the 12 families that make up Augusta’s Muslim community, where the nearest halal restaurant is 45 minutes away, made me forget all about New York. [CLICK PHOTO TO READ MORE]

Day 1 – New York, Ground Zero Mosque (Pt. 2)

Bassam and I walked into the “Ground Zero Mosque” expecting to feel transformed, knowing the fact that I was praying inside the place that’s practically been mentioned in the news every 20 minutes. [CLICK THE PHOTO TO READ MORE]

Day 1 – New York, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood (Pt. 1)

It was nice to be welcomed back to the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood (MIB) with its trademark green cement. We visited this mosque last year during our NYC trek. It was one of the most hospitable and historical centers we visited [click photo to read more]

Let the Countdown Begin!

Hmm, I should print t-shirts that say “30 Mosques 2010 Road Tour.” Actually, I’m still single, so I should probably not. We’re a little more than two weeks away before we start our journey and many of you guys have asked us where we’re going. Here’s the official list and we hope to meet a lot of you guys if we come through your neck of the woods. Above is

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